View Full Version : Saddle fit to rider (photo)

Jul. 25, 2011, 01:09 AM
I took out a saddle for a trial. How does it look? I know my stirrups can go down a hole or two but I'm not used to riding with such long stirrups. Does the seat look a bit too big?

Any comments are much appreciated. :)


Jul. 25, 2011, 01:49 AM
To me it looks like you are not sitting in the middle (lowest part of the saddle), you need to be sitting closer to the pommel. I am not sure if the saddle is causing you to sit that way but it is pitching you forward. I really like Kieffer but it definitely does not work for everyone, IME.

Galadriël Fëfalas
Jul. 25, 2011, 08:35 AM
seat size looks okay, but it'd be easier to tell if your stirrups were longer.

I prefer to have a saddle that's ½" shorter than a GP or jumping saddle for dressage.

Jul. 25, 2011, 08:47 AM
I agree with Bugs - your seat is not in the correct place in the saddle. It would be interesting to take a picture with your legs out of the stirrups - walk around the arena once with your legs out of the stirrups, relax, wiggle around a little, stretch down - then take the photo.

Jul. 25, 2011, 10:19 AM
Are you a Hunter rider in a Dressage saddle? :D I ask because you are in that slightly inclined Hunter/Jumper position :)

I agree, you are scootched back, and need to slide your seat forward about 2" give or take. I'm not convinced, yet, your stirrup needs to be longer, but what does need to happen is your hip needs to open up.

I think if you scoot forward a bit, sit up straight, open your hips, and drop weight through your heels, you may find your stirrup length is just fine.

And do what dudley said :)

Jul. 25, 2011, 10:51 AM
It looks like you could fit in the saddle with some alteration of your position. I know the title of your thread is "saddle fit to rider" but the pommel is quite high off your horse's back and that makes me question the fit of the saddle to the horse.

Jul. 25, 2011, 10:55 AM
I think the higher pommel is the way the saddle is made (makes for easier fitting for higher-withered horses). Looking at the overall balance of the saddle, I don't at all think it is looking high because it's too narrow and sitting pommel-high :)

Jul. 25, 2011, 12:25 PM
I agree with the previous posts but wanted to add that it may be the block on the front of the saddle that makes you want to sit with your seat so far back in the saddle. If you drop your stirrups and straighten up, you will find the middle of the saddle, but then if you pick your stirrups back up, your knee might have gone over the block, in which case the flap, not the seat, is your problem unless your hips have enough flexibility to allow you to ride with a longer stirrup. I don't think the stirrup length itself is a problem if that's where you are comfortable, but you might need a different flap size/shape to accommodate your thigh length. To make this saddle work, you might need to make the stirrup a touch longer and see how that changes things.

Jul. 25, 2011, 12:39 PM
There are saddles that don't fit well but sit in level balance, without being pommel high/cantle low (including cutbacks). It's especially deceptive when cutbacks are placed on horses without high withers, since the clearance between wither and pommel, along with level balance, fulfills one of the "10 [or name-your-number] rules of saddle fitting."

Which is not to say that a cutback saddle can't be a good fit on a less-than-high-withered horse. But if the saddle is "perching" on the horse's back, as this one does, I question the fit. This degree of perching is often caused by a tree that is too narrow. To make sure that the tree isn't too narrow, have someone slide their hand under the panels while you're mounted and check for pinching, see if you feel any unnecessary saddle movement or rocking at all gaits, and keep checking your horse for soreness in the shoulder.

Jul. 25, 2011, 12:43 PM
I agree with what you just said, but I still see nothing that tells me this saddle is perching.

If a tree is too narrow, it will perch, but it will also sit pommel-high, unless there has been flocking added to the rear panels, or a bump/rear riser pad is being used. I don't see either in this picture :)

Jul. 25, 2011, 01:42 PM
I doubt that JB and I will agree on whether the saddle perches or not, but it is my experience that saddles that are too narrow don't necessarily perch (especially if they're slightly or moderately too narrow) nor do they necessarily sit pommel high (especially if they're deep). It all depends on the saddle and the horse. Good luck with your search for the right saddle!

Jul. 25, 2011, 01:50 PM
I would like to see a photo with the stirrups dropped down a hole. Your leg position could be pushing you to the back of the saddle.

Jul. 25, 2011, 02:33 PM
I doubt that JB and I will agree on whether the saddle perches or not, but it is my experience that saddles that are too narrow don't necessarily perch (especially if they're slightly or moderately too narrow) nor do they necessarily sit pommel high (especially if they're deep). It all depends on the saddle and the horse. Good luck with your search for the right saddle!
I agree, neither of us can prove our thoughts from this one picture :)

By "pommel high" though,I really mean they won't sit level. The lowest point of the seat will be too close to the cantle. Simply looking at the pommel height in relation to the cantle height can often be very misleading, especially in Dressage saddles where some models have high-back chair cantles LOL Or have a cathedral shape to the pommel as it's made for high-withered horses, but also have a relatively low cantle.

Jul. 25, 2011, 02:48 PM
Here's what I learned about taking saddles for trials - put some tube socks on those stirrup leathers so they don't scuff the saddle. Otherwise it will cost you when you return it ;) Ask me how I know.


Jul. 25, 2011, 02:49 PM
Always ask the seller what the rules are for trying a saddle. Some don't have any requirements, knowing you can't really get a good trial if you're having to do "odd" things.

Jul. 25, 2011, 03:46 PM
You are definitely not sitting correctly in this saddle, and I agree with a previous poster who suggested that you have a few pictures taken with your feet our of the stirrups. Your legs need to hang more straightly from your hips, and does mean a longer stirrup leather. It might in addition mean that your stirrup bars are too short, and that you need a longer bar that will set the stirrups back a little more. Cannot really tell on that until I see a picture with your body placed correctly. The seat size, itself, seems good, as does the balance of the saddle.

Jul. 25, 2011, 07:44 PM
I am a hunter rider in a dressage saddle so that could explain my position in this saddle. Part of this problem I believe is the huge blocks as I'm not used to having these this big. I feel like they push my upper leg backwards. I wish I had other photos but this was the only one I got.

As far as the fit to the horse this saddle does not fit her correctly. It is tiny bit too narrow for her but the back panels seem to be a good shape for her unlike many other saddles out there. I am not keeping this saddle.

BTW I didn't need to use tube socks. The owner was fine with me trying it out with the leathers.

I guess my search is still on for that perfect saddle. I thought a dressage saddle might end up fitting since I haven't had any luck with close contact saddles.

Jul. 25, 2011, 09:51 PM
You got lots of good advice here.

When you get the next one, to assess rider fit...

1. When you mount, make sure it doesn't cause any new issues for the horse that you didn't notice on the ground (i.e. wither clearance, width of channel)

2. Don't pick up your stirrups. Stretch your leg down and long. Completely relax, letting your toes point down if thats what they do naturally.

3. Scoot to the front of the seat. Your seat will slide back into the natural sweet spot. Someone on the ground should be able to assess whether the sweet spot is a good balance for you or not.

4. Walk a few laps around the ring totally relaxed, still without stirrups.

5. If you feel comfortable, pick up sitting trot with your leg totally relaxed and feel how supportive (or not) the seat is of your natural, relaxed sitting trot position.

6. Pick up your stirrups and find a good length. Then assess how the blocks hit your leg. If you like a shorter stirrup, some blocks will definitely hit you in the wrong place.

7. If everything is still good, go ahead and ride in it.